Friday, May 31, 2019

Outdoor Mom's Journal - May 2019

During our outdoor time this week we the backyard to rescue a nest of baby bunnies that Cooper discovered.

Unfortunately, he got a couple of them. The remaining five bunnies we brought to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville since Sophia thought they appeared a bit dehydrated. (She pulled their skin a little and let it go. The skin went back slowly towards the bunnies' bodies indicating they were dehydrated.)

Sure enough, when we bought them in, they were dehydrated. However, there was milk in their stomachs so the mother was around.

They encouraged us to bring them back home since they would have a higher chance at survival. So we did. The girls put them back in the underground nest and covered the nest with a laundry basket and rock during the day.

Each day in the evening, we would remove the laundry basket and leave the nest open at night. The mother  would feed the babies once in the evening and once in the morning. In the morning, we would put the basket over the nest to protect them again.

When they were still very young and their eyes had not opened yet, the girls did check on them to make sure they were okay. Check out the tiny paw and ears of the bunny below.

Another bunny had cute little back paws. They were not nervous at this stage because they didn't know who we were or what we were doing. The fluid that the vet gave each bunny gave them the energy and electrolytes it needed.

We were so happy to see the bunnies growing during the month; and eventually getting brave and old enough to leave the nest. They have multiple places to hide and are very quick - which is an asset when there are four dogs living in the home.

The most inspiring thing we experienced was...
asking for a "gift of service" for Mother's Day and receiving it. Sophia and Olivia planted flower container gardens by the driveway and entry way to the backyard (essentially our front door).

They are matching planters that belonged to my parents; and we've been planting flowers in them since we inherited them.

Paige cleaned the grill so I could make smoked barbecue ribs for dinner.

The girls also brought loads of compost to various holes and bare spots in the front- and backyards. They spread it out and then put grass seed on top.

This was  a huge timesaver for me so I could focus on other outdoor projects. We have about a month and a half before Sophia's graduation party...and there's a lot left to do.

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about) old are bunnies before their eyes open? 

We found out that baby rabbits, or kits, usually open their eyes about 10-12 days after birth. They are born blind, furless, and deaf. They typically start to grow fur after about three days.

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting...a variety of things. We are removing the raised beds because some were damaged in the fire last year and others are getting worn out. They were made out of some type of heavy-duty outdoor fabric; and they only lasted a few growing seasons.

So, we are not planting any vegetables or herbs this year. There isn't enough sunlight where the gardens have been in the past and there isn't enough interest from everyone to do vegetable gardening.

What we are doing is working on the flower and hosta gardens that have been neglected over the past few years. There's a lot of weeding that we've been doing as well as planting some new perennials. I'm excited to see how the gardens will look during the summer.

I added nature journal my Nature Observer - A Guided Journal book. I am really enjoying this journal. I write down something I observed in nature on the calendar; set goals on the "Activity or Intention" page about a variety of things; write daily reflections about nature; and am including pictures from magazines of nature images.

At some point, I'll add some photos I've taken of the outdoors and birds to further personalize it. 

I am reading...
nothing related to nature. I've been doing a lot to get ready for Sophia's graduation day (May 21st) and party (June 29th). 

I am dreaming about…
when the pond in the pasture will go down. This is what it looked like on May 16th:

It was high enough for geese and ducks to land and swim around in it. It has been very high this year and was extremely challenging for the horses to access it. They were choosing to go through almost knee-high muck to get to the pasture.

So, the girls and I cut an opening in the fence at a higher elevation and created a new path for them to use. It is much better for them now.

A photo I would like to share...Sophia's graduation day was very windy in the afternoon, and then it ended up raining. So, we couldn't get any decent outdoor photos which was disappointing. The next day, we went to Jax Café and had lunch to celebrate her graduation. This is a family photo of us on the patio at Jax.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

My Favorite Photos - April 2019

This was a challenging month to choose photos since we took a trip to Seattle and Alaska as a pre-graduation celebration of Sophia's high school graduation. There also were other highlights from the month. This is a very long post with many photos. Feel free to skim through quickly. I had a hard time cutting down the photos from the 1,000+ photos I took in April.

These are the ones I chose as my favorite ones:

The girls wanted to go to a homeschool prom this year, so we got dresses for them a couple of months ago. April 4th was the day to get the dresses altered:


I'm not a fan of having my photo taken. However, this was the annual tea party at the homeschool co-op that the girls attend. Sophia wanted to go, so she, my sister, and I went there and had a really nice time. 

On April 9th, Olivia took this photo of our horses. They are inseparable; and I'm so happy that they have one another. They both came from abuse/neglect situations and met each other on the day they were both brought to our farm to start their lives over. It's been wonderful seeing them develop such a close bond with one another. 

On April 11th, we had a snowstorm that once again brought everything to a halt. The red-winged blackbirds had already migrated back for the Spring. We had a good 200 red-winged blackbirds along with grackles and crows looking for food during the prolonged Winter. We've never had that many birds at our feeder so it was exciting to see them gathered so close to our home.

On the 12th, Sophia played the harp for animals waiting to be adopted. The is one of two dogs brought over from South Korea. His destiny would have been being someone's dinner since he was part of the meat trade there. I'm thankful that there are people and groups who are willing to rescue the dogs from the overseas meat trade.

On the 14th, Olivia and I took a class at the art center. We learned how to paint Dala horse plaques. We will be hanging ours on our barn once it is painted and completed.

We went up to the top of Seattle's Space Needle on April 24th. There are plexiglass windows behind us in the photo below, and we are leaning against them. Sophia was very nervous about doing this. The next thing I knew, she was holding my hand and that gave her the confidence to lean back in the photo below.

There was an immediate flashback to when she was little and wanted and needed to hold my hand - especially when we were in public. Here she is 18 years old, and there's still a little part of her that is my little girl who needs that extra reassurance. It is one of my favorite photos from the trip.

Also on the 24th, we went to Chihuhly Garden and Glass which is next door to the Space Needle. The artistry and diversity of glass pieces shown there are phenomenal. This is my favorite part of the exhibit - the boat room:

Another intriguing part of the museum is that glass is integrated with the gardens. The color of the glass is also the color of the plants and flowers in the garden. The image below, for example, is of all black, white, and gray plants since the artwork is the same colors.

In contrast, here's the purple and white garden. It has a completely different look and feel to it.

Sophia pointed out that the colors are graduated when you look at the tip of some the pieces.

I was excited to see the Space Needle and the glass building at Chihuhly Garden and Glass reflected in a glass ball in the glass gardens.

Another place we visited on the 24th was the Museum of Pop Culture. My favorite part of the museum was the costumes that were worn in "The Wizard of Oz." I was so happy to see Dorothy's dress and what good condition it still is in.

Another part of the museum were items from Prince's life and performance career. Below is a replica of the motorcycle he drove in Purple Rain (I believe). The girls were excited that the museum let people sit on it.

On April 25th, we went on a boat cruise around the Seattle Harbor. We learned a lot about the area, the buildings, fishing industry, and boats. The tour guide also pointed out two sea lions that were pretty close to our boat.

On April 26th, we were in Anchorage. Our first stop was the Anchorage Art Museum. A cute little carving was of a Native American with a raven mask on. The gloves with the fur trim are typical of that area.

The artist who did the bear painting and magpie mobile had a couple other pieces in the museum as well. I like the cheerful colors she used.

We saw a lot of wood carvings and totem poles while in Seattle and Alaska. This is a small version of one that Olivia is standing by.

April 27th was a nature-filled day! We were driving from Anchorage to Seward and Sophia spotted a pod of beluga whales out in the channel. We pulled over (as did many other people) and watched about 25-30 whales. It was particularly exciting when their tails came out of the water!

The scenery - the mountains and water - were so beautiful. 

Olivia spotted mountain goats near the top of a very tall cliff. There were four goats somehow managing to climb over and across the rocky ledges. Below is a picture of three of the goats.

We found a place that did gold panning. It was interesting to learn about the history of gold panning and the gold industry in Alaska. The process to find gold (which all of us did...just a little though) gave us a much greater appreciation of the work involved.

In the afternoon of the 27th, we spent it at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. We were able to feed a porcupine. Olivia is feeding Kit Kat, the porcupine, a grape.

We also got to feed a young moose biscuits. Sophia enjoyed being able to get up close to the moose and feed him. He kind of reminded me of our horse with that big muzzle.

We saw a black bear.

There were two caribou females who had babies.

Some of the caribou were growing antlers so they were fuzzy/had velvet on them still.

Check out this cute baby who is getting more confident on his or her feet.

We saw a magpie. Didn't realize they had such long tails.

Got to see a beautiful grizzly/brown bear up close. It was swimming in the water so that's why his or her fur is wet.

On the 28th, we drove from Anchorage to Seward. Again, the mountains were spectacular. 

We stopped at Portage Glacier and saw a little iceberg. There was still about 8-12 feet of snow on the glacier, so we weren't able to see the blue ice of the glacier...just a lot of snow.

In Seward, we were able to feed puffins at SeaLife Center.

We saw beautiful waterfowl.

Saw ducks and puffins swimming.

And saw gulls up close.

At SeaLife Center, there were seals. It was interesting to see them eat from the bottom of the aquarium. To stay in place, like shown below, they cross their back flippers. When they uncross them, they float up a bit and can start swimming again.

We saw beautiful jellyfish.

The girls and I went on a drive in the evening. It was still light until almost 11 p.m., so our days were long which was nice. In Seward, there's a narrow road that eventually goes to the end of a peninsula. There, we saw about seven juvenile and adult eagles eating, fishing, flying, and watching the water. It was amazing!!

If that wasn't enough, on our way back we saw two otters in the ocean! They are very loud eaters. We could hear them munching away on something from the shore and they were out quite a ways in the water.

On the 28th, we drove back from Seward through Anchorage and then about 45 minutes north to Palmer. On the way, we stopped at McHugh Creek - it's part of a state park. There was a beautiful waterfall and small lake, and rocks we enjoyed climbing over. The wind was rather strong so it felt like it was three degrees.

We went to the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer. Musk ox used to live in the Ice Age so they their nasal passages are complex. It allows the cold air to warm up as it makes its way through the nasal cavities and before it reaches the lungs.

The musk ox horns and skull weigh about 45 pounds.

We were fortunate to see two babies and their mothers. This is one of them.

There are literally hundreds more I could have included as favorite ones. The scenery, the activities we did, and the memories we created were such a highlight of the month...and of the year.